Every terror fan should have a soft place in their heart for the captivating Jennifer Rubin. From her leather bound toughie in Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors to the resourceful heroine in Bad Dreams to the concerned fiancé in The Crush and her many other appearances in countless genre projects, she has always radiated with an approachable magnetism. Just prior to her appearance at the Sci Fi Spectacular in Chicago, where her post apocalyptic-horror effort Screamers will be screened, Rubin took a moment to chat with me about some of the many projects that she has embraced over her eclectic career. As you’ll soon be able to tell, it was one of the most delightful conversations, full of easy laughter and warmth, that I have been lucky enough to take part in.
BGHF: First of all, Jennifer, I have to say, I just love the sheer variety of your performances. It’s just amazing to me! From the innocent victim of Bad Dreams to the psycho stalker of The Fear Inside, and everything in between! It’s just an honor to be talking to you.
Jennifer: Thank you!
BGHF: I’m a theater critic here in Chicago, so I really appreciate a layered performance. I think you’ve given quite a few of those.
Jennifer: Thank you! I’ve got to tell you something. What was so amazing was that it was almost unheard of to go through Hollywood and do something in each genre. If you’re a comedian, you’re going to stay a comedian. If you’re in horror, you’re in horror. Now, in 2000 whatever, there is more variety in a performer’s career. But in the 80s and 90s, there was real pigeonholing and, somehow, I got through it! I did 4 in this category, 4 in that category, and 4 in another category… (Laughs) They couldn’t control me.
BGHF: I have a feeling the world is all the better for it, my friend! The world is all the better for it!
Jennifer: Thank you!
BGHF: They’re showing Screamers this weekend. So, first off, let’s talk about that.
Jennifer: That was Peter Weller’s project. He was developing it with the production company. He met me at a film festival and we hit it off. So, he called me in and I auditioned for it, once, and that was it! There was almost no script. So, Peter Weller and Christian Duguay, the director, wrote it at night. So, for me, Screamers was just kind of like a friendly thing that just happened to fall into place.
BGHF: Was that the vibe on the set? It just looks like it could have been a rough shoot with the desert style terrain and what-have-you.
Jennifer: I guess it was cold. It wasn’t rough for me because while Peter and Christian were writing at night, me and (co-star) Andy Lauer were like two little screw offs. We were partying too much, barely making it to the set on time, having the time of our lives! (Laughs) Meanwhile, those guys were overworking themselves! (Laughs) But, it worked! Andy and I weren’t very responsible on that one, no.
BGHF: Well, I’m sure it was just balancing out other work experiences when you were way too responsible!
Jennifer: (Laughing) Oh, right! Right!
BGHF: …and you’ve played everything from Edie Sedgwick in The Doors to a nun in Little Witches! The former altar boy in me just loves that you played a nun in a horror film!
Jennifer: Alright! Well, I’ll tell you the truth about both of them! Oliver brought me into read opposite all the Jim Morrison’s that he was testing for The Doors. So I wound up doing 8 or 9 readings against possible Jim Morrison’s. After I did that, Oliver said, “You know, I’ll give you a part. What do you want? Do you want to be a stewardess on a plane or do you want to be Edie Sedgwick?” And I was like, “Edie!” (Laughs)
BGHF: (Laughing) Is there even a choice?
Jennifer: Edie! And it turns out that plane scene wasn’t even in the movie because it turned out to be thirty hours long! (Laughs) Then he cut it down to 4 hours. He even apologized to me. Because I was on it for two weeks! But, I, at least, have my one little frame with just me in it, dancing around with the bombs dropping. But on Little Witches, I kind of think I felt bad about something in my career, so I kind of wanted to promote goodness. So, I thought playing a nun for a girls’ school would kind-of… (Laughs) You know, I can’t even remember! I think I was probably stoned when I was thinking it. (Laughs) But, anyhow, I was trying to give back with the nun thing!
BGHF: (Laughs) Give a little hope and grace back to society. I got ya!
Jennifer: Yeah, (laughing), I was giving! That was me, giving my heart out!
BGHF: So, one of my personal favorites is Drop Dead Gorgeous (AKA Victim of Beauty).
Jennifer: Oh, Sally Kellerman!
BGHF: She is exactly who I was going to ask you about! You’re a strong female performer and she’s a strong female performer, so what was she like to work with?
Jennifer: Divine! Divine! Divine! She’s amazing, as a woman! I know she was the original Hot Lips and whatever. But, she’s such a role model. I know I’m getting up there in years. Some people may say that I’m not that old yet, but I don’t want a high definition camera pointed in my face! You know what I mean?
Jennifer: But that Sally Kellerman loved a close-up! She probably still does! I just admire actresses that are just so committed to character and so giving and so sweet and so nice. I bought completely into it and then I completely forgot about that scene where her character hits on me! She was such a mother figure and then she started hitting on me and I was like, “Hey, Sally, what’s going on?” I didn’t know if it was real or not. But it was real! (Laughs) I just didn’t read the script well enough! It was funny. I mean I’ve kissed girls before, so it wasn’t homophobic. (Laughs) It was just Sally Kellerman, so it was a little weird!
BGHF: That makes it a perfect movie to talk about on this blog then!
Jennifer: Yes! I think it’s one of my mom’s favorite movies, too. That and the one you mentioned earlier, The Fear Inside, with Christine Lahti.
BGHF: That was another awesome one! You got to act crazed with Dylan McDermott and terrorize Christine Lahti. We doesn’t want to scare an award winning actress every once in awhile?
Jennifer: (Laughs) Christine Lahti! We used to call her Christine Cry-A-Lot-y!
BGHF: (Laughing) Oh, really?
Jennifer: (Laughing) Yeah.
Jennifer: She cried in all my scenes! (Laughing) I was like, “Girl, don’t cry in all my scenes! I need to cry!” It was funny. It was fine.
BGHF: (Laughing) She was just not going to give you a chance of a close-up! She just wasn’t!
Jennifer: (Laughing) No, no. That’s true!
BGHF: I understand you are a writer, as well?
Jennifer: Well, let me correct you! I’m not a writer per-se. I really respect writers. But, I wrote. I did it once. I’ll see if I can do it again. If I can do it twice, I will take on the term writer! (Laughs) Yeah, people throw around terms too loosely these days! But, I wrote a script. I wrote it in Word Perfect and Final Draft, so if something comes of it…it was with the help of Word Perfect, of course!
BGHF: Of course!
Jennifer: Remember, in the old days, when there wasn’t Word Perfect? Oh, man!
BGHF: I wrote my college term papers on a portable electric typewriter that my mother got me, back in the day. I thought I was something back then!
BGHF: There I was, in the lobby of the theatre department, just typing away! It’s just so hard to believe, right now! That era seems a million years away.
Jennifer: (Laughing) Right! But, I am thrilled about my script. It’s called Citizen Hemp!
BGHF: That’s awesome!
Jennifer: That’s the title! It’s my screenplay, and it’s a family, serious movie. Well, obviously, it’s going to be humorous, but family oriented. (Laughs) If like The Godfather is family oriented!
BGHF: Well, if you’re Marlon Brando’s son, I suppose it is family oriented! So, is there a project that you’d like to highlight that, unlike Nightmare on Elm Street 3 or what-have-you, hasn’t gotten a lot of promotion?
Jennifer: I just worked on a friend’s movie. It’s this movie called Untold. It’s a true story. This girlfriend of mine, she was abducted from a mall. She wound up being the only one who escaped from this child killer. She jumped out of the car window at 7.
Jennifer: I think the tagline for it is something like “Every Parent’s Nightmare”. I play the therapist in it. It’s such a wonderful story for her to tell as a first film, it’s so personal. It’s about her escaping from this molester and her journey towards the good life that she has now.
BGHF: So, it’s about recovery and survival, which is awesome.
Jennifer: John Walsh has endorsed it. So, if you’re searching for that needle in a haystack, there’s a needle in a haystack right there!
Jennifer: Speaking of amazing, long standing women, you worked with comedienne Julie Brown in Plump Fiction. Can you talk a little about that?
Jennifer: Oh, she was phenomenal! Wow! That couldn’t have been better! I played Mrs. White, Harvey Keitel’s character. I even bumped into him and I was like, “I’m Mrs. White!” and he was like, “I’m Mr. White!” And I was like, “No. I’m Mrs. White!” We had that little moment and he kind of helped me with the project.
BGHF: Now, that’s a story!
Jennifer: Yeah! But Julie Brown was amazing. She was fun. She was so inclusive. I had never done improvisation before, so those people really taught me a lot. (Laughs) They, also, taught me that I have to practice! And Jennifer Coolidge was in that, too.
BGHF: Yeah! That was just a bit before her ascent!
Jennifer: Yeah, just before. She’s another great comedienne who made a niche for herself. Wowee! And how can those girls ever hang in that community of comedy? The guys are just a little too heavy for me. But those girls are just so light and fresh.
Jennifer: As a woman, I just truly appreciate them.
BGHF: And as a journalist and fan, I just totally appreciate you! Everyone, here, can’t wait for you to get to Chicago!
Jennifer: Well, I will be there soon, with bells on!
Jennifer: Oh, I wanted to give a shout out to Sandee and Bobby! I’m staying at their house!
Jennifer: It’s nice to have friends in Chicago, already! It just makes the whole thing better!
Rubin will be appearing at The Sci-Fi Spectacular, featuring 16 hours of science fiction and horror features, on Saturday, April 18th at The Patio Theater. There will be free photos and autographs, amazing vendors and much more. Further information can be gotten at https://www.facebook.com/events/771555102921288/.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!